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“Mad Men,” episode 12, “Commissions and Fees”

Don was wrong. About a third of the way into “Commissions and Fees,” Don tells Lane that he’ll get over getting quietly sacked from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce over the “13-day loan” he finagled for himself.

“The next thing will be better because it always is,” Don tells Lane, distraught after realizing that Don isn’t going to change his mind about forcing his resignation. “I’ve started over a lot, Lane. This is the worst part.”

For Lane, the worst was just around the corner. Even suicide didn’t come easy to him, in a devilishly comic twist on the Jaguar storyline (unreliable to the end!) that I’m sure will cause some gnashing of teeth at Jag parent company Tata Motors on Monday. Don was right when it came to speaking about his own experience, but he was wrong for Lane. The contrast only reinforced what a survivor Don is, as was underscored later in the episode by his “think big” challenge to Roger.

It was no accident that there were two references to Easter in this episode — the resurrection. We’re seeing it in progress with Joan, who’s exerting herself as a partner even in the face of unavoidably awkward moments. And we’re seeing it big-time in Don as his drive to win revs up (undoubtedly spurred on by the blow of losing Peggy to a competitor). The Jaguar win only whets his appetite. It’s just as he tells the major domo of Dow Chemical (oh how I love Ray Wise in anything), “Happiness is just a moment before you want more happiness.” Don’s convincing in his three-minute pitch because he means what he says.

Although it became easy to see Lane’s suicide coming in this episode, they way it was handled, plus the slam-bang action of the other storylines, made this one hell of a penultimate episode. There was a lot that could have gone wrong, or hokey, or ooey gooey in this episode but it worked because it was the “Mad Men” troupe at its best, from the cast to writers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton to helmer Christopher Manley.